IFC Helps Rebuild Conflict-affected Countries in Africa

IFC Helps Rebuild Conflict-affected Countries in Africa

January 12, 2009—War destroys roads, bridges, schools, and power stations, as well as many lives. Because of prolonged conflict, today a number of African countries suffer from mass unemployment, collapsed legal and regulatory structures, and weakened infrastructure.

Through a new program, IFC is deepening its impact in some of the most challenging economic environments in Africa and helping countries devastated by conflict rebuild their private sectors to create jobs and opportunity.

In 2008, we launched the Conflict-Affected States in Africa Initiative, a five-year, $25 million program that designs and implements integrated strategies to support economic recovery in fragile and conflict-affected African countries. Working in these countries is core to IFC’s mission to support private sector growth, helping create jobs and reduce poverty. Such economies need both immediate assistance and long-term nurturing to ensure sustained growth and return to stability.

To help countries rebuild after conflict, IFC focuses on:
Improving the business environment through regulatory reform

Strengthening small and medium enterprises and their support institutions, such as chambers of commerce

Rebuilding financial markets, banks, and other financial institutions

Increasing private sector involvement in rebuilding infrastructure

The CASA Initiative is funded by IFC and donor partners Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway. It is beginning work in four countries, each of which presents huge challenges–and opportunities–for private sector growth. The countries are:

Central African Republic
Landlocked and heavily dependent on aid, the Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has a long history of coups and revolts and has a weak private sector. IFC is working mainly in the capital, Bangui, to support public-private dialogue and the growth of small and medium enterprises.

Democratic Republic of Congo
The Second Congo War, which erupted in 1998, is the deadliest conflict since WWII, killing more than 5 million and devastating the local economy. Fighting continues to this day. IFC is working to improve the country’s investment climate, unlock the growth potential of agribusiness, oil, gas, and mining, and other sectors, as well as support small businesses.

Liberia
The conclusion of long-running civil wars in 2003 ushered in an era of hope and democracy in Liberia, where Africa’s first-elected female head of state is strongly supporting reform. Years of violence have devastated the country’s infrastructure and caused widespread poverty. IFC is working to improve the investment climate, support small and medium enterprises, and help develop the important tree crop sector.

Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone was convulsed by a 10-year civil war that ended in 2001, and it still faces widespread unemployment and poverty. IFC is supporting changes to the investment climate, including tax simplification and investment promotion. We are also supporting small and medium enterprise development and working on leasing and private schools programs.

For more information contact:
Jason Hopps
Johannesburg, South Africa
Phone: +27 11 731 3120
E-mail: jhopps@ifc.org

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